Trump plays political chess but Democrats stick with checkers

Trump plays political chess but Democrats stick with checkers
© Aaron Schwartz

Democrats are betting it all on impeachment, but they may fall short on what appears to be their main priority of removing Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE from office. For months, Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE fought calls for impeachment, much to the consternation of members of her Democratic caucus, preferring to focus on bread and butter issues such as health care and immigration, which remain two of the top issues for voters going into 2020.

Instead, Democrats are now focused on another Trump scandal, and every hour of every day they are focused on it is time not spent showcasing how their policies differ from Republicans. Democratic candidates hoping to talk about their policies are forced to talk about impeachment, which does not benefit a significant pool of candidates still looking to beat out each other in hopes of becoming the party presidential nominee.

Voters want to know one simple thing. How will their lives continue to improve? Voters on the campaign trail are not asking about impeachment. They are asking about issues. However, Democrats blind hatred for Trump has them rushing, which they have already admitted as they hope to conclude their impeachment inquiry with a vote by the end of the year.


The House will vote and then what? It will go to the Senate for a trial, where the president will not be convicted. Christmas will come and before you know it, Iowa will have its caucus in early February. Impeachment will be on the minds of voters there. It is increasingly clear that this process will begin and end where it started in the House. Democrats will find themselves once again bewildered by another miscalculation that does not yield a prolonged political advantage any more than the special counsel investigation or their attempts at gun control legislation.

Things have changed, and the present environment yields more strategic benefit to Trump than Democrats. We have in a fast paced news cycle where attention spans are short. They are not interested in nuanced stories. They want to get straight to the point and demand to know how it is relevant to their lives. If those two things are not met, their attention eventually fades and, like we have seen so many times over the past two years, it is nearly impossible to reel people back in when that happens.

Welsh politician Aneurin Bevan once said, “Politics is a blood sport.” The clarity of his words has never been more apparent than today. The battle for political power and influence has changed on the campaign trail. The way in which politicians and parties must fight to garner the attention of the American people to convince them how bad the other side is has morphed into something unlike anything we have ever seen before.

Trump appears to be playing a game of chess while Democrats are playing checkers. Democrats are making moves and hoping for an advantage, but they do not seem to recognize that they are playing the wrong game. They seem unable to make the necessary adjustments that meet the rules of politics today. That is a challenging hurdle that Democrats have yet to overcome since the election of Trump, and until they do, Trump and Republicans will have the advantage for the foreseeable future.

Shermichael Singleton is a Republican strategist and political analyst regularly appearing on MSNBC. Follow him on Twitter @Shermichael_.